Monthly Summary – September 2010
Prepared by KG September 7, 2011
General Observations: September seems to be another month of transition. As May marked the transition from greenhouse production and season preparation to full scale production, September marked a return to the greenhouses and preparation for winter production as the last of the field successions were planted at the end of August. September is a busy month, with many priorities vying for the attention of the crew. Harvesting the remaining field successions was a key priority, as was harvesting the tomatoes which continued to yield through the month but at a reduced yield later on. In addition preparation for fall greenhouse crops and the planting of cover crops for the winter need to be done. Also, winter production was on everyone’s minds as NSF trainees were allowed to plan out and begin working on the various elements of winter production with the goal of providing fresh organic produce to our local Hopewell Market throughout the winter. On top of all this the daily chores and other needs of the farm mean that in worker hours September 2010 was the highest of the year with 1064 total hours.
Administration 52.5hrs: For administration September started with a Farm Review in the log on 9/1. Notes in the log talk about focusing on harvesting from the final field succession and a planting frenzy for direct seeded crops before the new moon on 9/8. The standard administrative duties were also performed, payroll and bill paying. Planning for winter production was another administrative project that took place last September. Interns RCM, ST, and SJ took on many of the planning responsibilities for winter production including the creation of crop plans, strategy/bed choices, seed and supply orders. On 9/29 MR trained SJ and ST on field layout and primary tillage of Madonna Field as it was divided into 3 blocks to be added into the field rotations allowing for a full season fallow for each block every other year, a bioextensive method to prevent soil from being overworked.
Infrastructure 70.5hrs: Mowing with Kabota and bushhog, diversions mowed 9/6 and 9/21. Field perimeters, as well as Veg C and D field were mowed.
Chickens: The new 2010 flock was moved into the old 2008 flock pen. The 2009 girls were moved to a fresh pasture.
JD tractor- 5
Ford tractor- 17
IH tractor, Walkin Mower, BSC, Weedwacker- 0
Upon removing the backhoe for the JD tractor a leaky hydraulic hose was discovered on 9/1. On 9/15 the log mentions that there was trouble starting the JD which was solved by adjusting the charger and dosing the starter with ether.
Greenhouse 10.5hrs: Cleanup and bed preparation were the focus of greenhouse activity. The Farmhouse Gothic greenhouse was prepared for a direct seeded winter production crop, after a normal bed preparation procedure of composting, broad-forking, and rototilling the beds were irrigated to flush weeds before seeding a week later.
Composting 21hrs: Compost was sifted for greenhouse winter production seedlings. On 9/21 NSF received delivery of approx. 35 cubic yards of mulch. The big garden beds and greenhouse beds received compost prior to planting.
Planting 53.5hrs: On 9/1 two beds of salad were planted without composting or broadforking with a note in the log to observe the success of the crop without those preparations, however the follow up note was not found. Arugula and Tatsoi seeded for the new moon on 9/8. Spinach on 9/9 and carrots and radishes seeded in Ralph’s House GH on 9/11. Two more beds of salad were planted in the BGBs on 9/15.
Crop Care 155hrs: With fall almost here and winter following quickly behind getting cover crops planted and established is an important task in September. On 9/2 and 9/3 Veg B North was seeded with a cover crop of wheat and Veg B Mid was bed formed and seeded with white clover in the pathways and broadcast with oats. The practice used in Veg B Mid was particularly useful as the formed beds held their shape through the winter and could be planted in the spring without additional bedforming. Regular weeding in the BGBs and field throughout the month. The Asparagus also got some attention and was weeded on 9/16.
Harvesting 376.5hrs: Chard, Kale, Beets, Summer Squash, Peppers, Eggplant, Radishes, Field Salad, and Flowers continued to be harvested. On 9/14 the first of the winter squash was harvested. Radishes were cleared and topped on 9/16. The experimental corn plot was harvested on 9/21, yields were disappointing due to drought, for 12 field beds of corn approx. 20lbs of corn was harvested. The tomatoes continued to yield through September, however at a decreasing rate. The strong storms on 9/30 flattened lettuce and led to a lower yield of salad for the two weekend markets that followed; 14lbs. compared to 92lbs. the previous week. Calculations regarding the garlic crop were made, ¼ acre yielded 1,750 cloves of garlic or 50 lbs. bulk/ 44 lbs. cloves.
Handling 75hrs: Regular washing in preparation for the three markets NSF attends. Garlic was also cleaned, roots cut off and dirt removed from bulbs.
Hopewell– 9/1 $709, 9/8 $764, 9/14 $643, 9/21 $679, 9/28 $542
WWCFM- 9/4 $1075.00, 9/11 $1385.00, 9/18 $1535.00, 9/25 $1545.15
Summit– 9/5 $2440.00, 9/12 $2284.00, 9/19 $2090.00, 9/26 $2625.00
Total September Market Income: $18,316.92
Special Projects 64hrs: The 2010 chickens got a treat when prime galensoga weed was harvested for them to eat. Rock Road East deliveries continued with the Farm Stand in offering fresh organic produce to our neighbors through September. And of course the TOMATO FIGHT took place 9/12, with lots of “fun, pizza, beer, and rotten tomatoes”. Nomad Pizza supplied the delicious brick oven pizza. 2010 Tomato Fight t-shirt sales plus contributions helped to cover the costs to NSF for hosting the event, our 5th Annual Tomato Fight. A note in the log about the tomato fight claims ST and RC “obviously were the best” and should have won awards.
Weather: Conditions throughout the month remained dry, and for the most part hotter than average, continuing the two month drought that the area had been experiencing last year.
Week 1: Hot and Dry weather, with the temperature some days reaching above 100*F. Hopes that Hurricane Earl passing off the coast will bring some rain do not pay off.
Week 2: A new front moved in, bringing cooler temperature and some windy weather. On 9/13 a notable thunderstorm was recorded in the log. “Crazy, amazing thunderstorm at sunset turned everything orange and rainbows and lightning could be seen.”
Week 3: Cool, still dry. Despite last week’s storm only .6” of rain have fallen since late August.
Week 4: The heat returns. 93*F and still dry, although forecast storms finally arrive on the last day of September and deliver a stormy first day of October.